Currently viewing the category: "Aphids, Scale Insects, Leafhoppers, and Tree Hoppers"
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Little static critters
Hello dear bugman.
I noticed these little things on the underside of my pompom viburnam tree’s leaves. What are they?? I have a postage-stamp sized garden in downtown Boston , a few trees and perennials and usually bugs are not a problem; we get bees mostly. Some ants. Although we have had slugs. We don’t even get mosqiotos! SO I didn’t think I had a real pest, but then I noticed them on the underside of my dead cosmos as well. No other plants seem affected. I think they are pests indeed. Humph! Any idea? They don’t move much, usually are lumped up together in clusters, they are slightly varied sizes, seem teardrop shaped, and they have a matte charcoal finish to them. Oh and as you can see, tiny red ants like to crawl all over them. I can’t get close enough to count the legs, they are sooo small! I would love a super, natural solution that works in a tiny backyard (lots of folks close around this garden, so I don’t want to be spraying bad things in the air) Any ideas on my mystery guests?
J Thank you so much! (love the site)

Dear J.,
You have Ant Cows, a common name for Aphids. Aphids are pests which suck the juices from plants and spread viruses, though not to people. Ants “farm” the aphids because of the sticky Honeydew they exude from their anuses. A mild spray of soapy water on a daily basis will help rid your postage stamp garden from this vile pestilence.

Wow, that is a little gross! Off I go to suds up then… Thanks Bugman!!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi WTB Guy!
I live on long island, and we have hundreds of these bugs swarming outside our house each night. A few of them often find their way in and spend the night buzzing around the lights. We have a large cedar tree near our front door, and I’m wondering if they are related to that tree?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dear Adam,
You have some type of Leafhopper, Family Cicadellidae. These are Homopterans, related to cicadas, aphids and treehoppers. They have sucking mouthparts and many species carry viral diseases that they spread to their host plants, but not to people. Sorry, I can’t identify your exact species.

Update (01/22/2006)
The following is an excerpt from a letter by Julieta Brambila:
” I printed two images for Mark Rothschild, expert in Membracidae, and he gave me this information: Ophiderma sp. (probably O. definita or O. pubescens) is the identification for another membracid. He wrote: “They are found on oaks (Quercus sp.), not cedars”. This image is from a message from 06/10/2004 by Adam, from Long Island. The image has a penny to compare the sizes. The writer wars wondering if the insects had anything to do with the cedar near his front door.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I’ve just found your website and I maybe you can help me with the identification of this particular tree- or leafhopper (picture attached). This photo is to be included in the Encyclopedia, and the editor needs the species name . If you know it, please send a message ASAP – I would be MOST GRATEFUL!!!
Best regards,
Wawrzyniec Podrzucki
P.S. Thepicture was taken in Pennsylvania.

Hi there Wawrzyniec Podrzucki,
I’m guessing Thelia bimaculata, a female. Here is a website with images.Good luck on getting in that encyclopedia. Your photograph is beautiful.
Treehoppers belong to the Family Membracidae. They are called Treehoppers because most of the species live on trees and low bushes, hopping vigorously when disturbed. All of the species suck plant juices. Many of the young secrete honeydew like aphids.
Great thanks for answering so promptly. In the meantime I’ve also run the picture through yet another entomological site, and it seems that you are
correct. And you are wellcome to my website for a little more of good quality insect photos.
Thanks again,
Wawrzyniec Podrzucki

Update (01/06/2006)
Here is an excerpt from a letter by Julieta Brambila:
” I printed two images for Mark Rothschild, expert in Membracidae, and he gave me this information: Campylenchia latipes (SAy) is the identification for the message from 10/17/2003, from Wawrzyniec Podrzucki, of a membracid from Pennsylvannia. This image is filed in the section of What’s that bug: aphids, scale insects, leafhoppers, and tree hoppers.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Eggplant bugs?
I am hoping you can help me identify the spiny little critters that have taken up residence on my eggplants. Sorry the picture is not real clear, but it does show their yellow and brown stripes, and the spikes that cover them all over. I live in San Diego, California. How can I get rid of them without using some harmful chemical? Would insecticidal soap work?
Thanks for your Help,
Dawn Jurek

Dear Dawn,
Your eggplants have an infestation of Keelbacked Treehoppers, Antianthe expansa, in the nymph stage. The adults are green winged creatures that have sharply keeled backs and sharp spines on each side of the head. The nymphs are black and orange and spiny as indicated in your photo. The nymphs are very sensitive to approaching danger and migrate to the other side of the stem en masse away from the hands of the gardener or any other perceived danger. They feed on the sap of solanaceous plants including eggplant, tomatoes and peppers. Treehoppers, which belong to the insect order Homoptera, are related to aphids, cicadas, mealybugs, scale insects and leafhoppers. You can try picking them manually, but beware the sharp spines, or you can spray the plants with a mild solution of soapy water.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

have an infestation of bugs on my willow tree. They are dark gray with black spots and shaped kind of like a light bulb. The narrow part at the head. The back legs are longer than the front and they have little antennae. There are thousands clustered together. Can you tell me what they are and how to treat them?
Kim Kincaid
Aloha, OR

Hi Kim,
Sorry about the delay. I believe you have Giant Willow Aphids, Pterochlorus viminalis. This is a large species, reaching about 1/4 inch. It is gray with black spots, short black horns on the abdomen and a large tubercle in the middle of the abdomen. It feeds in large, compact colonies on the trunks and branches of willows often near the ground, and when disturbed has the habit of kicking the hind legs back and forth above the abdomen in a very energetic manner. This habit is common to all the individuals of a colony and is probably a means of warding off natural enemies according to Essig. Try your local nursery for a treatment. Here is a site with great information and photos.

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I need your help please. Where I live in California, my house in like in the middle of a field. With some trees around the house and for grass it’s all dried old weeds no green grass! We just started cleaning the yard (field) up and besides wolf spiders, and earwigs and ants etc. we’ve noticed a lot of these bugs that fly leap from the weeds and trees. I want to call them ticks but I haven’t found a tick picture that looks like these. They are brown and also bright neon green. The body is hard and the head is like a triangle. Please help me soooooooon if you can. Thanks.
Up to my knees in bugs.

Dear Knees,
You are being bothered by leaf hoppers Family Cicadellidae or spittle bugs Family cercopidae, both of which will feed off the sap of plants but will not harm people. Spittle Bugs leave frothy foam on plant stems that resembles spittle and serves as a shelter for the feeding nymphs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination